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Meanwhile # 1 | October 2003
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The Art of being Creative

Cape Point
910 x 710 mm | oil on canvas

Painting is probably one of the most indulgent of all the arts to get involved with. That said, most artists I know can not help being creative one way or the other although there are much easier ways to earn a living.

The secret is to rise above society, money, critics and your own insecurities to be really productive. Some succeed in doing this without the help of chemical stimulants or vast amounts of alcohol.

A friend once remarked that it is acceptable to be a hippy when you’re twenty but it’s bizarre to be a hippy when you’re fifty. Lets face it, surviving today with your anti-society standards intact is very difficult. We are all weak especially when it comes to creature comforts. To be able to earn enough you need to interact with others, blend in on various levels. Looking successful is essential, the client wants to make an investment and you are part of the package. This is where many artists draw the line, selling art is one thing but marketing yourself is something else. Fortunately for some, we live in a bloodthirsty environment, where drama sells and some artists can use this to sell art.

Leaving the studio evokes feelings of frustration and even jealousy in an artist, seeing others make heaps of money and getting the recognition you deserve. I must say it is somewhat reassuring to see these ugly emotional outbursts in fellow artists.

The fact that we live in a society without any art knowledge is the shocking reality every artist must face sooner or later. It is impossible to distinguish between what is good and what is bad if you did not grow up with art. I am not talking about academic art knowledge. We should be growing up with art around us like we are with sports.

‘Two beached ladies’
290 x 150 mm | oil on board

On a few occasions I’ve had people approach me at an exhibition with a dreamy look in the eye. Apparently cutting an ear of or dying without a penny is very romantic to people. Most believe that artists in a godly state touch the canvas a few times effortlessly with the perfect combination of paint and dedication to create one masterpiece after the other. I have tried meditation but the only way to create new art is to roll up your sleeves and focus.

Investing time, money and your soul in a piece of canvas without any guarantees is total madness. Why we keep on doing it is beyond me. This is were my indulgence theory comes in, being excited about a new idea, the pleasure in preparing the tools and buying new equipment, creating something out of nothing and then enjoying the reaction of the public, these are the things I am hooked on.

I guess everybody struggles with the fact that we need to eat, not only artists. The secret is to make the necessary money to be able to eat well, by selling a product and not your soul. One must distance oneself from the art, but doing this is much easier said than done. Especially when you are talking about a bunch of emotional unstable people who make fun of society daily.

Estie Esterhuizen spent her childhood in various small towns in the scenic northern and eastern parts of South Africa. After receiving her degree in Graphic Design from the University of Pretoria in 1991, she worked as a Graphic Designer in Johannesburg, followed by a period of extensive touring in the Middle East and the US. Estie began exhibiting her work after her return to South Africa. She has since exhibited all over South Africa and has sold works internationally.

See more on estieesterhuizen.co.za

© MEANWHILE

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